Something had to be sone to keep some of the knowledge they had gained within the company for future employees. The Project Academy contributed to this by arranging a series of Knowledge Cafes. Mainly the Knowledge Cafes were arranged as described by David Gurteen, but we made some adjustments to meet our specific situation:
- We took care to invite a mix of experienced and inexperienced people to the Cafe. We specially invited the trainees in our company, even those who were not engaged within project management.
- We let the guest speaker (the project manager) talk for at least 20 minutes. They were asked to let their speech be a kind of a history from one or several projects, and to end with a dilemma that was to be discussed by the groups.
- We organized the groups in a way to mix experienced and inexperienced people for the first conversation round.
The experiences can be summed up:
- It is a challenge to invite dedicated project people to something that are not to be concluded in an action plan.
- Participation varied from 5 to 18 people. The Cafe concept doesn't work well with fewer than 10 people - at least not for us.
- Most people that participated in the Cafe were engaged about it and said they gained new insight from the sessions.
- This is an easy way to transfer knowledge without using lots of resources. We met the people really interested in widen their knowledge base, and the project managers already had their stories so there were a minimum of preparing even for the speakers. There was no documentation made from the Cafes which means nothing kept for them not able to attend. But would they ever find time to read it?